That is one of the most fundamental questions in life!
Even Jesus asked his disciples; ““But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”” (Matthew 16:15–16 NIV11)
Jesus knew his identity, he blessed Peter saying that this revelation – Jesus’ identity- was not revealed to him from flesh and blood, meaning an earthly natural answer but a divine one, it was announced by Jesus’ Father in Heaven.
I believe that we have a divine identity and we are known in heaven just as we are known on earth. Yet the difference between being known in heaven and known on earth is so significant that it can change how we view ourselves and others.
I was born in Chile, and I lived in New Jersey (USA) during my teen years. I also lived in Spain in Madrid. My wife is English and my children Northern Irish, and I am currently living in Belfast. I have the blessing of adapting to different cultures, and I hold two passports, potentially three if I want to remain in the EU!!!
Every time I am asked: Where are you from? I always answer: do you want to hear the short version or the long one!
So the issue of identity is big for me, who am I? Am I Chilean? Yes. But I have lived outside Chile for most of my life! Am I British? Yes, that is what my passport says! Am I Irish? Yes, well potentially…Chilean history has a lot to thank the Irish for!!
The issue gets messier when I am asked which national team do you support, the answer is straight forward, the Chilean Red! (not the wine, well…) But when it comes to Rugby, I support Ireland 1oo%. During the recent Euro Cup, my kids asked me who I will be supporting, and I said: Wales, Northern Ireland and Ireland! To be honest, I was more concerned with the Copa America Centenary that Chile won again on penalties against the mighty Argentina team.
When Chile played England before the 2014 world cup I took my sons to Wembley, and I shouted gooooaaal and stood up celebrating Alexis Sanches’ two goals against England, – I was sitting with my in-laws with the English supporters! – (well it does not take much to beat England, even Iceland …)
When it comes to our local football, I am Cliftonville all the way!
Recently I was invited to a meal on the Falls Rd in Belfast celebrating the end of the term of an Irish class, and it was all in Irish, and I loved it, the highlight was the Irish music and seeing people dancing. There was a sense of deep identity and passion.
Identity is such an issue where we live, and personally, I have wrestled with that question for years.
During the last five years, I have been on a discovery journey with God, and during this time, I have asked God: Who Am I? Who do you say I am?
The journey has been of deep intimacy with Him, and He has disclosed to me my identity in heaven, meaning this is how you are known in my Presence, this is who you are. As I discovered my real identity, my perception and my thought patterns began to shift, and I began to see myself and people as they are known in heaven. Calling them into their true identity.
Jesus said that if we belong to him, that we are not of this world but yet we live in this world. If we are not of this world, then we belong to him in heaven, where God’s presence dwells.
I love the account of Gideon, in Judges 6, when the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said: “The Lord is with you mighty warrior”. That is how Gideon was known in heaven, as a Mighty Warrior, and when he understood his identity, he was able to be true to his to destiny and calling.
How have I come to know my identity? I keep a record of all the prophetic words I have been given. I keep a record of what the Lord has said about me through his Word, and I have acted accordingly to seek out, to practice, to live out that heavenly identity.
However, the discovery of my identity began when I was reading these verses:
“Likewise, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:26–27 ESV)
What is the Spirit praying for me? What is He saying about me? In what way is He interceding for me? I know that He is praying the will of God over me, but I want to know what he is saying, don’t you?
I would love to give you an answer to all those questions, but they are personal, and they come from a deep hunger for the Presence of God.
I know I am in Christ that my identity is in him, but this is more profound than merely knowing where you are from, this has to do with your destiny and purpose in life.
How do I know that? It is simple, it is called fellowshipping with the Holy Spirit.